In a local health food store a customer browsing around stops and asks, “What is the difference between the red and white quinoa, please? I’m aware they are different varieties, but how exactly are they different?”
“Well, I don’t know about all that, but I can tell you that red relates to fire and as you consume it it will enrich that part of your spirit. Since white is more neutral and earthy it will relate to the earthy part of your spirit” the store employee stated.
“Um, thanks, I was wondering more about nutritionally, if there was any difference, though?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
This was an actual conversation that took place between my husband and a worker at a health food store in our town. It is increasingly common, especially in the health food culture, to come across those of different belief systems, particularly of the New Age variety. It can be awkward and embarrassing, to those that maintain a biblical worldview. Navigating New Age values with grace and understanding is important in order to not be swayed by beliefs that oppose Christianity but also in order to be a light and a witness to them.
There are many wonderful reasons to eat real food. It tastes better. It is better for you. It is environmentally friendly. It is sustainable. It is healing. It is helping localize the economy. The list can go on. However, depending on the worldview you subscribe to, all of these things may be considered from very different perspectives.
Many that prescribe to New Age or Eastern belief systems may cite being one with nature, receiving good karma for stewarding the earth well, or being gentle to each creature on their journey of life as beliefs. Animism, or the belief that animals and even nonliving things have souls, is often the root of such beliefs.
As Christ followers, we can agree with some of the sentiment concerning stewardship of the natural world, however the root is very different. We honor the earth and take care of it as well. However, we do this because God’s first command to Adam was to fill the earth and to rule the creatures in it. We do that to honor God, though, and to treat creation and animals the way they were intended. We also strive to honor Him by feeding our bodies in ways that are healthy so they can be used as He intended.
When we have a solid worldview in place we can view the New Age culture from the "solid rock of Christ" and not become ensnared into a belief system that is contradictory to a Biblical worldview.
Being an Ambassador of the Kingdom of God
When we do encounter those that have a New Age belief system in the health food world, we need to respond with humility. Prayerfully interacting with others and sharing our own beliefs in a loving, nonthreatening way can begin to sow seeds that may lead them to Christ. From my experience, debating with those of very different worldviews is often ineffective, and a gentle, humble approach is received much more positively.
Sharing can be quite natural and simple when talking about your own life or stories. Talking about the miracle of an animal birth, watching seedlings grow, or seeing a family member healed by whole foods can all open the door to talk about God’s amazing design for creation. Jesus was well known as an excellent storyteller and when we share testimonies that involve everyday things in the health food world and show the Lord’s work in it, we can easily and inoffensively witness to our neighbors that don’t yet know Him.
How have you handled the New Age atmosphere in the health food culture?